Hi everyone! I am back from my month of obscurity. I would love to report that I spent the time on a tropical island or in a 5-star resort or hitting the ski slopes. Nor was I climbing Mt. Everest or hiking through Europe. Unfortunately, no wild vacation for me. I spent the month in front of my computer. I did escape the electronic hold to celebrate the holidays, but my very understanding family knew the monitor and the work had to be done.
The good news is that my olive oil book with Mary/California Greek Girl is with our editor (insert happy dance) and it will be sent off to the printer in a few short weeks! Woohoo! The 132-page, hardback cookbook will be available this March 2014. I will have all the details in the next couple of weeks, but for now, I can relax – at least for a little bit.
This crazy roller coaster ride that started last Spring has really opened my eyes. I always thought I chose quality ingredients. And when I didn’t, I knew that, too. I didn’t fool myself when I enjoyed a fast food burger or bought a frozen pizza. I knew what I was getting. I read labels – boy, do I read labels. I also know I am buying quality when I bring home fresh produce at my farmer’s market or natural food market. Quality matters to me.
I also thought I was buying extra virgin olive oil – the good stuff, too.
I admit it. I’m like most people, I look for deals. I thought expensive olive oil was overpriced. Then I learned about olive oil - Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
The news broke out all over the world about the adulteration of extra virgin olive oil, but it barely hit the radar with average consumers here in the US. What’s the news? Simply put, olive oils claiming to be extra virgin were not.
In a recent report, 69 percent of imported olive oil samples and 10 percent of California olive oil samples labeled as extra virgin failed to meet the IOC/USDA standards for extra virgin olive oil.
— source The Olive Oil Times
Extra virgin olive oil is produced from the first mechanical pressing of freshly picked olives. Extra virgin olive oil is extremely low in acidity. All those health benefits you heard about olive oil? That’s not from the refined stuff. It’s from extra virgin olive oil.
Many extra virgin olive oils that were found to be fraudulent were mixed in with cheaper oils, such as avocado or sunflower. Some had refined or chemically altered olive oil mixed in. Chlorophyl was found to be added to give the “olive oil” a green color.
You also have those clever marketing tactics to confuse consumers about what they are buying: extra light, pure, virgin… Will the real extra virgin olive oil please stand up?
Those clear glass bottles that show off that beautiful olive oil you find in the store aisles? Exposed to light, any light, and that olive oil is rancid before it even makes it to your kitchen. Those discounted gourmet olive oils you find at your favorite Marshall’s or Ross? Odds are it is old, well past its harvest date and expiration date.
Olive oils from all over the world were found guilty of these practices, but not everyone in the industry is guilty. How do you guarantee that you are buying the real deal? If you can, get to know your local olive growers. Find an olive oil specialty store. Ask questions. Taste the expensive stuff. Taste the cheap stuff. Taste the difference. I think you will be surprised to find that you have probably been using rancid olive oil.
My husband, the skeptic, is a convert. We have been tasting a lot of olive oils at home and have enjoyed some damn fine EXTRA VIRGIN olive oil from California, Greece and elsewhere. Now I knew I was enjoying the good stuff. My eyes have been opened, my husband’s too. I know we will never go back to rancid olive oil.
Don’t let the sticker price scare you off from real extra virgin olive oil. If you are willing to spend $20 on a bottle of wine that gets consumed in one sitting, why not spend $20 on a bottle of extra virgin olive oil that will last you much longer than one night?
Extra Light Olive Oil is NOT Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Light Olive Oil is NOT Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Pure Olive Oil is NOT Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Virgin Olive Oil is NOT Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Get informed. Demand the real deal. Demand quality extra virgin olive oil.
Then, buy our book to learn what to do with it!